Archive for the ‘Noah’s Flood’ Category

The Bible doesn’t tell us why Noah got drunk (Genesis 9:20-29). Neither do we know how many years after the flood that this event took place, but it must have been several. Noah’s wife isn’t mentioned, and it’s possible that she might have died. The flood that destroyed the old world was an indescribably traumatic event, and perhaps Noah had been weakened by time and depression. Perhaps the first drink or two wrecked his judgement.

When the Bible doesn’t go into detail concerning an event, we should be careful of writing our own speculations in stone. Sometimes the original languages of the Bible offer clues concerning the rest of the story, but meanings of words can also change over time, so there are always places where we can become confused.

Anyway, inside his tent, Noah undressed for bed but passed out before he covered up. His son Cham (Ham), saw him naked in the tent, and told his brothers, Shem, and Japheth, who took a blanket, and covered their father. According to the Bible they walked backward until, I suppose, they found his feet. Ham should have covered his father when he first found him, instead of telling the whole world about it.

I’ve heard all kinds of speculative preaching about this Bible passage, accusing Ham of many things beyond what the Bible tells us. Ham, at the least, was disrespectful to his father. When Noah awakened, and understood what had happened, he was angry with Ham, but it sounds as if his anger was directed more against Ham’s son Canaan. I think that’s a misinterpretation however. I think it’s also a clue to the real story, and that behind the scenes, Noah was already having difficulties with Ham.

It would understandably be embarrassing for Ham to find Noah in that condition, but he may have taken advantage of the situation to humiliate his father. Ham’s wrong may not have been so much in telling his brothers, as in the way that he told them. He could have ranted about what a curse it was to have descended from such a father. Noah might then have retaliated in anger that Canaan was cursed to have a father such as Ham, who would leave a poor heritage to his descendants.

It makes sense to me that what actually happened was something of this sort. According to the Strong’s Concordance, the name Canaan means “humiliated,” which is likely another clue to the meaning of the story. That would not likely have been the original name of this son of Ham. The spelling of his name is different from that of a grandson of Shem (ref. Luke 3:36, and “Cainan,” in my archives of June, 2012), and also from that of the son of Enos in Genesis 5:9-14.

I don’t think that Noah would really have wanted to see all of Ham’s descendants become servants or slaves. At any rate, history has not specifically worked out that way, and tribes and nations which descended from Ham have subjugated other nations as often as not. For example, Egypt, a nation descended from Ham, enslaved the Israelites who were descendants of Shem. Canaanites (the Phoenicians), who lived in the area invaded by Israel after their deliverance from Egypt, also subjugated the Israelites for many of the decades of their existence together.

Over the course of history, leaders and prominent citizens have often sought to make slaves of their own people as well. These things are examples of the sin and greed preached against throughout the Bible. Some have tried to use this passage to justify the taking of human beings as slaves, just as people have always sought justification for their actions, and atheists are right to condemn those who have done so. Many atheists however, deliberately make use of such things to distort the interpretation of the Bible.

The Bible warns us against this also. Events are often reported in the Bible much as they would be in the news, and the reader is expected to exercise good judgement. The Bible doesn’t promote slavery, but it does predict its continuing existence until the time of the end (Revelation 6:15).

The words of Noah seem to me to be more generally true of the spiritual heritage of his descendants than of physical slavery. In Genesis 9:26, Noah mentions “the Lord God of Shem.” Shem, believing in one God, impressed monotheistic beliefs upon many of his descendants, while many nations descending from Ham have served a pantheon of “gods”. Jesus, the Messiah, entering this world through the virgin birth, was a descendent of Shem.

The serving of false gods often leads to a loss of freedoms. A heritage of rebellion against God, at least in the short-term, seems also to have run in Ham’s family. Nimrod, who established the city of Babylon, where God interrupted the building of the tower, was a descendent of Ham. Much of the labor on the tower would no doubt have been forced, as it has been in the building of many of the great monuments of man.

There are things that happen in families that affect later generations. A heritage of poverty affects many families, and poverty leads to borrowing. Borrowing has now become the American way of life, but Proverbs 22:7 says that the borrower is a servant to the lender. I understand the truth of that saying far too well.

Our heritage can bind us every bit as much as the chains of slavery. Note here that I recognize that much of monotheism is also based more upon spiritual imagination than upon reality. The Islamic terrorists who recently kidnapped 300 Nigerian schoolgirls (reports vary on the number) are either totally deceived by their heritage, or they are making use of that heritage to further their own personal agenda. According to the news, they have threatened to sell the girls as slaves if their demands aren’t met. The slave industry is very much alive in our day, and God only knows how many young girls around the world are kept as sex slaves. The term “wife,” often has little real meaning beyond being a convenient title.

The heritage of sin survived the flood. Ham must have rejoiced inwardly to see his father stumble, and that made a sad situation worse. There are usually many outside factors that contribute to the inconsistent behavior of humans, and though he didn’t look the part, this was the same Noah who had “found grace in the eyes of the Lord.” He built the ark that carried his family to safety, while all others perished.

Though he was at least somewhat inconsistent, it is imperfect people who need grace and hope; not perfect people. When people who realize their imperfections see the imperfections of the “heroes” of the Bible; it gives us hope. The Bible has been the source of hope to billions of people over the centuries, many of them slaves, for it has convinced them of deliverance to come (Luke 4:14-21).

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Fossils from around the world show that the earth before Noah’s flood was very different from today. Though mainstream science currently rejects the idea that Noah’s flood left most of the fossil record, there is yet basic agreement that the earth’s climate has changed dramatically since the days of the dinosaurs. We shouldn’t overlook this general agreement between the Bible and today’s science (ref. The Story in Stone, and other posts in my November 2012 through February 2013 archives).

If you attempt an internet study of Earth’s atmosphere in dinosaur times, you will find that the mind of science continues to change, and that individual scientists disagree about many details. In this post, I’m not speaking of the climate during the various stages of the ice age which followed Noah’s flood, but of the era when the earth was covered in lush vegetation; the earlier, warmer, world inhabited by the dinosaurs.

When we think of the garden of Eden, we think of a tropical paradise, and fossils show that such a climate prevailed over the ancient earth. There’s a lot of speculation about the causes of the ancient greenhouse effect that allowed a profusion of plants, insects, and other creatures to grow to gigantic sizes. Several ideas, such as the water vapor canopy theory, once held by many creationists, have been abandoned as inadequate, yet the ancient climate must have been accompanied by differences in Earth’s atmosphere.

Interpreters of Genesis 9:9-17 differ as to whether rain, and rainbows, existed before Noah’s flood. God could have used the existing rainbow as a symbol of his covenant with life on the earth. Since the earth’s atmosphere is certain to have been different however, and conditions can be such that a rainbow would not be visible, it’s also possible that this optical phenomenon was not seen before Noah’s flood (suggested research, diffusion of light, polarization, rainbow angle etc.).

It’s also possible to have rain and condensation without a rainbow so I’m not too particular about these Bible verses, but if rainbows were not visible, that could be a clue to ancient atmospheric conditions. Science should take a closer look at the rainbow with that in mind.

Also, scientific explanations for certain aspects of the rainbow and similar optical phenomena seem unnecessarily confusing, and incomplete. Studying the rainbow, moonbow, fogbow, and in particular the Brocken spectre (an observer’s shadow cast within a “glory”), at several scientific internet sources leads to some contradictory sounding information.

The Brocken spectre defies scientific rules that apply to other “lightbows.” It gets its name from a mountain in Germany where a climber reportedly fell to his death after suddenly encountering the phenomenon. After viewing photos of the Brocken spectre on the internet, I see how it could be startling in some situations.

The size and location of water droplets, refracting and reflecting light, are said to affect the color intensity of rainbows, moonbows, and fogbows, but not their form, size, and apparent distance. The size and location of water droplets however, are usually given as a possible reason for the varying size, and apparent distance of the Brocken spectre. Why would they be different?

Science explains that refraction and reflection of light causes rainbows. Diffraction, along with refraction and reflection, is said to cause glories, and of course light from behind the observer casts the shadow of the “spectre.” If “diffraction” answers my previous question, then I must ask; is diffraction operative in the mist of fog but not in rain? That sounds possible, but to verify that answer would require more study, and then there are other questions.

I’ve noted in photographs that the size of a Brocken glory ring is practically always proportional to the size of the shadow within it. In a few photos however, it doesn’t appear to be so, but why not? Science states that a glory is visible to an observer at an angle of 5 to 20 degrees, but that doesn’t seem to explain some photos that I’ve viewed. The primary rainbow, by the way, is only visible to an observer at an angle of 42 degrees from the sun’s rays behind them, and a secondary rainbow a little higher at 51 degrees.

I’ve read that a Brocken spectre sometimes appears to move of its own due to movements of its screen of fog, whereas rainbows appear to remain stationary. These tricks of the light can be fascinating, and frustrating to understand also. The field of atmospheric optics is very complex, but I believe science could offer a more comprehensive explanation for the behavior of the various lightbows, and resolve a few contradictions in the process.

The main point of this post however, is that Genesis 8:22-9:17 is evidence that the writer of this part of the Bible was aware of extreme changes in Earth’s ancient climate. It seems to be addressing concerns that the descendants of Noah will have about Earth’s changing environment.

God now sanctions the hunting of animals, and eating of meat (Genesis 9:3) whereas man’s diet was originally vegetarian (Genesis 1:29-30). This would allow a better chance of survival in the harsh winters of an ice age. Genesis 8:22 assures Noah that, “While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease.” I think these words were intended to reassure man during changes in all these things. They are part of God’s promise; his “covenant,” that he seals with the sign of the rainbow (Genesis 9:13).

The Bible predicts further changes in the earth, changes in its relation to the sun and moon, and eventually, the destruction of the earth and heavens as we now know them (Luke 21:25, Revelation 8:12, and 21:1). Science predicts the same thing, except on a different time scale. The Bible also predicts a new heaven and a new earth. The rainbow remains a symbol of hope, and nearly everyone wants to claim the symbol as their own. I think Genesis 9:13 is interesting, because in that verse God claims the rainbow also; he calls it “my bow, … a token of a covenant between me and the earth.”

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In this world, things which God must suffer to exist often overshadow that which he desires. We don’t always enjoy this world, and we can get many mistaken ideas about God’s will, but he doesn’t like the way things are either. God must even allow us the freedom to doubt him if we are so inclined, and many false beliefs arise in this mist of misunderstanding.

The following verses show a difference between the desire of God, and that which he must allow. Jesus said in Matthew 9:13, “I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.” In that verse, mercy is the thing desired, whereas sacrifice is something that must exist. Just as we sometimes must do things that we would rather not, so it is with God, and his cross is heavier than ours.

Second Peter 3:9 says the Lord is, “not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” According to that verse, everyone would be saved if God’s heart’s desire were fulfilled. Many wonderful things simply do not happen because even though God is willing, we are not (Luke 13:34). We need to pray for God to help us in spite of our reluctance.

I’ve been writing about Genesis 8:20-9:17, Noah, and sacrifice in particular, but I’m going to leave that subject for now. Genesis 9:2-6 is about God suffering man to attempt to govern the earth. Those verses hint of civic duty in regard to other people, and of responsibility to God. The idea is for man to become involved in establishing order to offset the natural tendency toward chaos. In the process, man should learn something about God, and about himself.

God desires human beings to exercise self-control, but when that fails, some form of law must come into play. Galatians 3:19 tells us that the law was “added” because of transgressions. Laws and rules don’t make anything perfect (Hebrews 7:19), but they allow society to function. We’ve heard the argument that morality cannot be legislated, and that’s true of the inner morality of the heart which God desires, yet all laws are an attempt to control outward morals.

By the same token, love cannot be legislated, yet God tells us to love. Jesus said in Matthew 22:36-40 that all biblical law can be summed up by the commandments to love God, and to love our neighbor as ourself. Commanding us to love doesn’t make it happen, nor is love always an easy thing, but it lets us know where God stands.

Genesis 9:2-6 doesn’t give a lot of rules, but in those verses, God states his opposition to “the shedding of man’s blood.” At the same time, he upholds the right of man to exact judgement rather than restraining it as he did in Cain’s case (Genesis 4:8-15). God suffered the establishment of governments, even though his own blood would be shed in a terrible misapplication of justice under the Romans. The alternative to government is chaos, and “every man for himself.”

In spite of chance, and God’s gracious intervention at times (Ecclesiastes 9:11, and Romans 9:16), history furnishes endless records of injustices forced upon people by those more powerful than themselves. The animal kingdom also suffers under man. In Genesis 9:2-4, which I wrote of in an earlier post, God sanctions the use of animals for food to sustain human life. A commandment is given that the animal not be eaten alive. You might think that such a command would be unnecessary, but maybe we should take a closer look at man’s appetite.

On 3-21-14, there was an article on foxnews.com about animals that are eaten alive by humans around the world, so, this wasn’t something done only when man was less civilized. Debates about animal cruelty are currently occurring over these practices. Man’s dominion is over that of the animal kingdom, but that doesn’t mean that God approves of man’s cruelty.

Genesis 9:2-4 is often taken only as a command against the eating of blood (ref, Leviticus 17:11-12, Hebrews 10:4-10), but I believe in a stricter interpretation of the verse. Without its blood, the animal is dead, and released from further suffering. God cares for all his creation, and his covenant in Genesis 9:12-13, is not only with man, but with all living creatures. One day, when God’s dominion over the earth is finally established, peace will come to our world, and to the animal kingdom (Isaiah 11:6-9).

This is a world in transition, and earth’s creatures are transient beings, but this is only the beginning for us; not the destination, and not the end. There is a rainbow; the token of the promise of God. I’m praying to write something about the rainbow next, but the truth seems to be as elusive as the rainbow itself.

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People must eat whenever they get together for a period of time, so it’s only natural that food would become associated with our celebrations. Practically all ancient people also retained some fragmentary knowledge of the existence of a creator, so prayers of some sort would tend to accompany their feasts.

The simple preparation of animals for food could partly explain why the practice of ritual sacrifice was common among ancient societies. An understandable expression of regret for the harsh realities of death could quickly evolve into elaborate ceremonies (ref. my previous post). Such ceremonies in most cultures were influenced by superstition, and little was left in them which related to reality, even in a symbolical form.

The word “altar” basically means a high place, a raised area of earth or stone. Such an area would have served as a butcher’s table in ancient times. The word “altar” is formed from two words. “Alt,” means “high,” and comes to us through Latin, but is derived from the shortened form of Elohim (El), the Hebrew word for God. Some languages have it as “Al.”

“Tar,” from the Middle English “tere,” or “terre,” is related to the words, “tree,” “truth” (from the Anglo-Saxon, treowth), and also “terra,” the Latin word for Earth. I personally believe that “terra” comes from “Erets,” the Hebrew name for Earth (ref. Heaven and Earth, in my September 2011 archives). “Ets,” the ending of “erets, happens to be the Hebrew word for a tree, so I think these things are all connected.

The black, sticky, substance that we call tar is obtained by the destructive distillation of wood, or coal and other products leftover from the decomposition of organic matter. That explains the connection of “tar,” to “tree.” The burning of the remains of animals on primitive “altars” likely has something to do with the association of “tar” with a burnt offering.

Noah’s ark was “pitched” inside and out with pitch (Hebrew “kopher”), a substance formed along with tar. The same basic Hebrew word is used for the sacrifice of the atonement (at-one-ment). I intend to write a bit more about this Hebrew word later. It is possible that Noah’s pitch could also have been obtained from tree resins, since “pitch” refers to such resins also.

Strong’s Bible Concordance notes that “Ariel,” a name meaning lion (or hero) of God, and also a symbolic name for Jerusalem, probably comes from “Harel,” meaning the mount (high place) of God. So, a symbolic name for Jerusalem, the place where Jesus was crucified has the same meaning as our word “altar.” A variation of “Ariel,” actually means “alter,” three places in Ezekiel 43:15-16. At this point in time, I have no idea why it’s so used in only these three places. I think that “high place,” “high ground,” “high tree,” “high truth,” “mount of God,” or “tree of God,”  can all be given as meanings of the word “altar.”

In this world, wherever there is a truth, there will many alterations of that truth, and if there’s a way to get things utterly confused, man will think of it. Though condemned by God (Jeremiah 32:35, Genesis 9:6), the horror of human sacrifice became commonplace in many pagan religions. Though unaccompanied by any ceremony, atrocities such as Herod’s murder of the young children of Bethlehem, in an attempt to kill the child Jesus, should be recognized as human sacrifice (Matthew 2:1-18).

False beliefs, myths, and false religions, supplant and suppress the revelation of God. They alter man’s perception of reality, and obscure the ultimate reality of God. Man alters the truth, and sacrifices it, without even knowing what it is.

The longsuffering of God (2nd. Peter 3:9) does have its limits however, and God has intervened in history, preserving the truth for us in the book that we call the Bible. He has sacrificed himself on the altar of the cross, that we might not sacrifice Heaven for the sake of the token life that we possess here and now. Speaking of his “sheep” in John 10:10, He said, “I have come that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” While this verse can be applied to his desire for our lives here, it will only have its full realization in the new earth, and in the new heaven (Revelation 21:1).

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No amount of study could thoroughly cover the subject matter of the early chapters of Genesis. Our book of Genesis is a copy of the oldest writings of Earth, and the scope of these chapters is infinite. If Noah’s ark were ever actually found, it might possibly contain some original pre-flood Genesis writings.

Genesis 8:15 through 9:19, is a condensed account of an interaction between God and the survivors of the flood. It doesn’t explain the Bible’s position on justice, fear, sacrifice, and mercy, for that would be impossible in the context, but those principles are present. They are explained in verses scattered throughout the Bible; primarily in the New Testament. Over a period of time, I’ve written quite a bit about sacrifice, but I don’t have it well-organized. I’m going to try to work some ideas into this post from part one of “Sacrifice” (in my April 2011 archives). All posts in my March 2012 archives also touch upon this subject.

Upon leaving the ark, Noah built an altar where he sacrificed several “clean” animals. This happened long before laws recorded by Moses identified certain animals as clean for use as food by the Israelites. Basically, animals which do not feed on the flesh of other creatures, but on vegetation, and which also have a divided hoof, were considered clean. Moses went into detail, and listed other characteristics pertaining to fish, and to certain insects.

To most of us today the idea of such offerings seems primitive and crude, but take a closer look at the world of today. It isn’t as different as we like to think. Most of us in America purchase our meat in the grocery store, and we don’t personally witness their slaughter, but just think of all the animals that are sacrificed to feed us.

It’s a cruel world, and even if we manage to distance ourselves from that fact, it is still our hand that has brought about all the suffering (ref. “A Random World,” in my September 2010 archives, and other posts in my January 2012 archives). Our fellow creatures suffer along with us upon this fallen planet (Romans 8:22).

In the beginning Adam and Eve, and all their fellow creatures, obtained their food from plants, and death did not exist. By the time of Noah’s flood, the animals were preying upon each other, and violence was common among humans. After the flood, God suffered the slaughter of animals for food (Genesis 9:3).

I’m taking advantage of an old usage of the word “suffer” in the previous sentence, rather than saying that God allowed, or permitted, man to kill animals for food, for I don’t believe that God “allowed” this completely voluntarily. Many wandering tribes of people would have starved if they weren’t allowed to hunt, and yes, an overpopulation of animals is itself prone to starvation. God has suffered the lives of the animals to be sacrificed to save our’s.

In the minds of many people, the idea of religious “sacrifice,” is kept separate from the practical usage of the word. That’s the wrong way of thinking, because we’ll never understand the Bible without drawing all these things together. One reason for the ceremonial offerings of the Bible is to draw our attention to things that might otherwise be overlooked. We observe holidays (Holy Days), and other anniversaries, for the same reason. Memorial Day for instance, acknowledges the sacrifices of those who came before us. The sacrifice soldiers and their families have been forced to make is beyond comprehension.

We live in a demanding world. Governing entities, whether secular or religious, aren’t always rational, or fair, and human beings are often treated as pawns. Pontius Pilate didn’t really want to order Jesus to be crucified (John 18:29-19:16, Note: “Jews,” in the context of those verses means many of the religious leaders of the day, and their supporters; not the Jewish race of people), but his fear of Caesar, along with other political pressures, outweighed his sense of justice.

People are often misguided by the beliefs instilled in them by their education and culture. Jesus warned his disciples that some people would think they were doing God a favor by persecuting and killing them (John 16:2). Yet, in all of this, God is with us, suffering the injustice with us (Matthew 25:40).

Whenever we are hurting, I think it’s helpful to remember the Lord dying on the cross. Jesus is Immanuel (Immanuel means “God with us,” (Isaiah 7:14, and Matthew 1:23), and all the ceremonial offerings of the Bible are symbolic of Christ in one way or another. They are a prophetic portrayal of the life he would live, the death he would die, and that which he would accomplish by his death.

God has suffered death to exist because there are some things that can be worse than death. You can look at some of the conditions that living things experience and understand that for yourself. In a manner of speaking, God himself has experienced death in the form of Jesus.

Jesus sacrificed himself for the good of humanity. The motives of the religious and political world of the day were totally contradictory to those of God however; they were so offended by Jesus that they crucified him. Simply killing him was not enough to satisfy them. Jesus does not “hate,” but he is hated (John 15:25).

Little does the world know, or perhaps sometimes just doesn’t care, that it is love in its perfect state that we are resisting. Yet, the sacrifice of Jesus draws and endears some of us to him, which is as he said it would be. That is a practical way of looking at it, even though there are elements of mystery involved in the atonement (at-one-ment), as there must be for our sake (more on this later).

We need to believe that the sacrifice of Jesus is enough to cover us, and it is. Lessons on morality, even Bible lessons, are not enough because we are not good enough; love must cover us (Proverbs 10:12). The love of God is the way forward; the way to rise above our past, above our caste, and the circumstances of life. The altar of Christ alters us, but never to the point that we no longer need him.

Christ may not be what everyone wants for Christmas, but he is what we need. Jesus is God, giving himself for us, reconciling the world unto himself by that supreme sacrificial act (2nd. Corinthians 5:19). Luke 2:14; “Peace on Earth, and goodwill toward men.” That is God’s desire for all human beings.

I wish everyone a Merry Christmas.

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This probably has nothing to do with anything, and since it’s somewhat difficult to believe, I have to wonder if I should bother to tell it. Computers can be subject to some strange quirks, and yet we’re entrusting our future to these things more every day.

No doubt, there’s some programmer somewhere who could explain this incident. That is, I think they could explain it to someone else who possessed enough programming knowledge to understand them. I know that long names of computer files become abbreviated when there’s not enough area in a field for complete viewing, but that’s not the case here.

This is also not a case where a text program substitutes unintelligible symbols (or blank squares) for characters that it doesn’t recognize. The result of that process appears as gibberish; not the substitution of one word for another. I’ve never seen a computer do anything like this, and yes, I know that I need to update my computer equipment. Maybe I would if I had money to throw around.

Anyway, I assigned the name, “The Broken Ark,” to the text file of a recent post, and saved it on an old Macintosh computer. Looking back for the file, I found the name was changed to “The Broken Bread.” At first I thought that I must have typed the wrong word. I once wrote some song lyrics that I gave that title to, and I thought that perhaps my mind had drifted to that song (the lyrics can be found in my July 2010 archives).

When I attempted to change the word “bread” in the file name to “ark,” an alert box asked if I wanted to replace the existing file, “The Broken Ark.” Knowing then that I had typed the title correctly to begin with, I didn’t replace it, but saved a copy under a temporary name. The original file reads correctly on computers running a Windows operating system, but I looked back at the file on another old Macintosh, and it reads “Bread” as it did on the first Mac.

The quirk that caused this doesn’t transfer to copies of the file. If I copy the file on a Windows computer, the word in the title copies as “Ark.” If I copy it on an old Mac, it copies as “Bread,” From there on however, the copies of the file read alike when taken to the other type of computer.

I’ve shown this to my wife and sons, so now there are three people who believe me. At present, I could only prove this little story to an observer in the same room with me. A video would not be accepted as proof since they can be easily altered. Oh well, that’s life.

A parallel is drawn in the Bible between the ark, which God used to preserve life during the destruction of the old world, and Jesus (the Christ), the future means of escape. In John 6:48 (ref. Luke 22:19), Jesus is also called the “bread of life,” but I doubt that the computer was making such connections.

The incident delayed the posting of the file for a little while because I couldn’t find it at first, and it also distracted me when I realized what had happened. It prompted some detours in my thinking. I’ve been unable to get the computer to repeat this performance. It looks as if some stray electronic quirk occurred at the moment the file was saved.

I don’t think this little story is too important, but when a computer edits my wording, it does make me wonder. Popular thinking is that computers are better than we are, and I can see many uses for them, but I don’t want them driving my car. A little glitch in the matrix of the computer could take us on a long detour.

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I’ve studied information from several sources on the Noah’s ark sighting of Ed Davis, including some who think he was on some mountain other than Mount Ararat. Before Ed’s death, there were multiple interviews over a period of a few years, but they all took place more than forty years after the sighting of 1943. From time to time after his story finally became public, Ed would remember some other detail of his experience. We can tell from this that it was often on his mind. If someone had taken his story seriously soon after his return to the U.S. from World War 2, we would probably not be left uncertain of so many details.

Ed Davis’ journey and climb to see the ark, unlike that of Ed Behling (ref. my previous post) took several days. The Davis trip began in Iran where he was serving in the army. I haven’t read that anyone asked him the exact starting point of his journey. It may not have seemed too important when the story was first told, or maybe Ed wasn’t certain after so many years had passed. At any rate, planning a long trip, he hauled extra barrels of fuel on his army truck.

He was accompanied on this part of the journey by a young Lourdish man that he worked with (ref. my Sept. 2013 post, The Silent Witnesses). Abas-Abas, who was either the father of the young man, or the grandfather, may also have been with them at this point. After several hours driving, they got a little sleep at a village where some of the Abas family lived. They awakened long before daylight, and took a different truck for about eight hours.

I’m not sure at this point where the village of Abas-Abas was located. There is some confusion concerning the location in the accounts of various writers. I think the first village Ed spoke of was probably in Iran, and that his army truck wasn’t taken across the border into Turkey. Most of the drive in the second truck was during the night. This night drive, and poor visibility due to bad weather they encountered, are part of the reason Ed couldn’t give a more detailed description of the route taken to the ark.

Some writers mention Ed’s arrival around dawn at a second village where they were joined by other Abas family members. Some think this was the little Turkish village of Ahora. Visiting two separate villages, both inhabited by members of the Abas family, could easily become a source of confusion, either in the memory, or in the communication of the events.

Apparently, it was in a cave somewhere near the second village that Ed was shown artifacts found on the mountain near a broken section of the ark. They parked the truck somewhere in the area, and horses were provided for them. They rode horseback for another eight hours or more, quietly evading Russian outposts along the way. Most of their ride was in silence, through rain, fog, and a freezing wind. No doubt Ed’s group did not enter Turkey through a legal checkpoint, but sneaked across the border somewhere.

Leaving the horses, they roped themselves together and continued their climb. They sheltered and slept in caves along the way, trying to stay out of the worst of the weather. Abas told Ed that the trail they were on was not the trail most used by explorers searching for the ark, but one used by bandits and such. He called it a “backdoor route.”

Though some have questioned whether the mountain Ed was on was actually in Turkey, we can deduce from statements in his testimony that it most likely was Ararat. Negative statements that Abas made about explorers who came looking for the ark indicate that the main search has been conducted on the correct mountain. At a point where they viewed the ark, Abas told Ed that they couldn’t be seen from the main trail above them. I don’t know if he meant that the ark itself could not be seen from the upper trail, or only that their vantage point was hidden.

During short breaks in the weather, they studied two broken sections of the ark through binoculars, talking about the broken beams and compartments visible within. From Ed’s story, it sounds like they were on the north side, and toward the eastern end of the mountain. Then the ark was in a little valley to the northeast of the area where they stood.

Ed seems fairly certain that the main summit was behind them, so they must have been looking outward, in a direction away from the mountain when viewing the ark. Other than that, Ed was not able to give a lot of directions. The ark might be very difficult to see from the air, unless a craft were flying very close to the mountain, and at just the right angle.

Abas gave Ed a lot of information about the interior of the ark. Apparently they intended to actually take him inside. After viewing the broken ark from a distance, they spent an extra night in a cave thinking the rain was going to clear. The difficult climb to the ark would then be safer. A deep overnight snow changed their plans, and forced them to descend the mountain. In the deep snow, the climb down was even slower, and more treacherous than their ascent.

Even though they boiled the water they drank on the mountain, somewhere along the way Ed became sick. The hardship of his journey, as well as the passage of time, would have made it difficult to give more precise information than he did.

When he was first interviewed, he mentioned that he had written something about his trip inside a Bible that he carried with him during the war. Later on, he was able to locate the Bible, and Don Shockey published the note just as it was written using Ed’s spelling and wording. This is Ed’s note in Don Shockey’s 1986 book, The Painful Mountain.

Went to Ararat with Abas. We saw a big ship on a ledge in two pieces. I stayed with him at the big house. It rained and snowed for ten days. I stopped in Tarharan and got some supplys and got warm and rested up. Also some new clothes. Lt. Bert was glad I got back. He was scared for me. He was afraid I would get killed I think. I am glad I went. I think it is the ark. Abas has lots of things from there. My legs are almost healed from the horse back ride.

Some have questioned why Ed, if he had been on Ararat, would have gone to Tehran to buy clothes on his way back to his base. Tehran would be well out of his way, but there are several possible reasons why he would have done so. First of all, his commanding officer had been reluctant to let Ed make the trip. He finally told Ed that he could give him some R&R in Tehran, and that Ed could take the long way around. If questions arose, Ed may have wanted to be able to truthfully say that he went to Tehran. Also, Ed had ruined his civilian clothes on the trip, and Tehran may have been his best chance at that time to buy western clothing.

As fantastic as it seems, Ed’s story is hard to disbelieve, especially taking into account the note that he wrote in the Bible. Could Ed have been deceived about what he saw? Ed commented at one point about something that Abas had told him, “…the old man had no reason to lie to me.” It would make no sense whatsoever for Abas to lead that difficult climb up Ararat if he wasn’t sure that it was worth the journey. I think that Abas himself probably wanted to make one last climb to the ark while he was still able to do so.

In 2003, two grandsons of Abas accompanied Ararat explorer Richard Bright for part of his climb in search of the ark. Two sons of Abas had lost their lives on the mountain, and his grandsons promised their own sick father they would not go beyond a certain point. Richard Bright, and the other climbers continued on, but their group was ordered off the mountain by the Turkish military. They searched part of the area on a later expedition without success.

At http://www.noahsarksearch.com you can read Bright’s own unedited story. At that site, under “Book,” scroll down the long list of explorers, and click on Richard Bright. Scroll down near the end of his pdf. file to find this story, and that of a later, nearly disastrous expedition. The search for Noah’s ark continues, and at some point I may study the subject further. For now, I’m going on to look at some other mysteries of the Bible.

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